The Mercedes Formula 1 team has begun a collaboration with automotive technology company Luminar that will help to develop a laser detection system for the FIA safety car.

Luminar has already been working with Mercedes-Benz and other car manufacturers including Volvo and Nissan on honing its products for road use.

The Florida-based company’s light, detection and ranging or LiDAR system uses lasers to create a 3D map of the environment around a vehicle, enabling accurate detection of objects ahead in bad weather.

Luminar states it can detect debris up to 250 metres ahead, and objects at up to 500 metres.

The plan is to develop the system for use on the safety car, and if it is proven to the satisfaction of the FIA it will be introduced on race weekends, feeding back extra information on track conditions to race control.

Mercedes states that “the sensor would create a real-time 3D map of the environment ahead of the safety car, notably enhancing the safety car driver's ability to assess the situation on the track while maintaining the required high speeds”.

The equipment will be incorporated into the roofline of the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series that serves as the safety car.

Mercedes AMG Safety Car at Brazilian GP 2023

Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff stressed the potential of the Luminar arrangement.

“I have been thoroughly impressed by their journey so far, their technology and the work they have done,” he said.

“It is a truly thrilling and innovative area which will have far-reaching implications for the automotive industry and mobility more generally.

“Our collaboration will utilise the initial development work between Luminar and Mercedes-Benz as a bedrock, and I am excited to see how we can build on that.

“Luminar's culture of innovation and entrepreneurship also fits incredibly well with our own ethos and values, so this is a natural collaboration.“

Markus Schafer, Mercedes-Benz AG chief technology officer, added: “The partnership with our F1 team is a natural extension of Mercedes-Benz existing partnership with Luminar to help realise our vision for accident-free driving in Mercedes production cars.

“Mercedes-Benz has always been at the forefront of innovation and safety, and we look forward to continuing our development efforts with Luminar to bring this technology to our F1 team.“

The Safety Car and the Medical Car at Canadian GP 2023

Luminar sees F1 as an ideal showcase for its products.

“Luminar's technology has always been about pushing the limits of performance while improving automotive safety,” said founder and CEO Austin Russell.

“And with F1, Mercedes-AMG are taking it to the extreme on a world stage of automotive enthusiasts.

“The same leading technology developed in partnership with Mercedes-Benz for their production cars will be shared with the Mercedes F1 team, demonstrating performance and safety advantages at any speed from the city, to the autobahn, to the track.“